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How To Stay Productive During Down Times

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Written by Timothy Sykes
Updated 1/10/2023 6 min read

In any industry, there’s a certain amount of down time involved. Trading is no exception.  And, with penny stocks YOU MUST HAVE PATIENCE TO WAIT FOR THE ABSOLUTE BEST SET UPS TO TRADE…that’s been the key to success for my top Millionaire Trading Challenge students and myself and how we stay productive .

As exhilarating and quickly as things can move during market hours, there are bound to be times where you find yourself waiting. Waiting for a deal to go through, waiting to see what happens with your stock…basically, waiting for what’s going to happen to happen.

How can you make the most use of these down times and not fall into stagnancy?

You’ve heard the phrase “a watched pot never boils.”  Instead of constantly refreshing your screen or obsessing about things you can’t change, here are some tips for how to stay productive during these times. Not only will they keep you sane, but they will keep you moving in a positive direction.

1. Don’t just wait around for something to happen. Do you know the difference between waiting for the next step…and just sitting around and waiting for something to happen? Because there is indeed a difference. The former requires patience; the latter is laziness.

To find success in your career, you have to be proactive in chasing down opportunities. Be honest with yourself about your current status. Have you taken action and are waiting to see the result? Or, are you secretly hoping things just come to you?

2. Wake up early. Rising with the birds is one of the best ways to boost your overall productivity and is a common habit of longtime millionaires. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish in as little as a few hours during the quiet, undisturbed morning time.

When you wake up early, you have time to take care of errands, sift through emails and take care of tasks that might otherwise impede your work day. This means that you’ll free yourself up to be productive.

Additionally, it gives you time to focus and make a game plan for the day. By taking the time to read the financial papers and mull over your current projects, you might be surprised by the clarity that will come to your day.

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3. Increase your prowess. One of the best ways to stay productive as a trader is to increase your knowledge about the market. By carefully studying how the market works and by learning more about it, you will position yourself so that you can make better investments. Even if you’re not acting on your knowledge right away, the long-term benefits are incredible.

So, whether it’s how to trade penny stocks, studying successful plays by your peers or researching stock offerings, taking the time to increase your prowess and knowledge of the market is going to help you become and stay productive.

4. Meet with your mentor. When you’re feeling in limbo as a trader, it’s always a good idea to have a chat with your mentor.

Whether you’re waiting for something to happen, trying to decide which stock to trade or pondering a new method of investment, your mentor will always provide a new sense of perspective. A mentor can give ideas on how to move forward or can offer suggestions for how you can proceed. This can keep you from stagnating and keep you feeling productive. By sharing their own experiences during similar times, you might find a new sense of direction after a meeting with your mentor.

4. Seek out accountability. For a lot of my Millionaire Challenge students, accountability is a powerful motivator. That’s part of why they signed up for the Millionaire Challenge in the first place. To pursue advancing as a trader on your own can be scary or at least daunting and it can be easy to give up at the first sign of resistance.

However, when you have a group and a teacher to keep you accountable, you have built-in inspiration and a friendly competitive spirit to keep you motivated. Accountability can be a very good thing and it can help you stay productive. Think of it like working out in the gym. If you are working out on your own, chances are you’re not going to do nearly as many reps as you would if you were in a group or working with a personal trainer.

5. Take time to revisit your goals. Going back to your goals can be a great way to make yourself stay productive during down times.

It can be easy to lose sight of why you’re trading in the daily grind. However, in those in-between moments when you are waiting for your next move, revisiting your goals and evaluating how you’re doing in terms of reaching them can prove a powerful exercise.

Take a long hard look at your goals and what you’re doing to attain them. What could you be doing differently? Moreover, what has been working and what hasn’t been? Good things can come from cutting out the things that aren’t taking you closer to your goals.

6. Plot potential next moves. Even when you’re not directly involved in a game-changing deal, you can be involved in plotting your next moves. Like a game of chess, try to work a few steps ahead. This way, you’ll never be caught off-guard and won’t have to react in a defensive or harried way. By really considering future plays or how you can get ahead, you’ll allow yourself to be poised and ready when the moment comes.

7. Relax. Yes, you heard me. As a trader, you’ll have plenty of moments where you’ll have to think on your feet and act quickly. So, when you do find yourself with a little down or waiting time, try to relax as much as you can. Consider it your recovery time. Enjoy, but don’t get too used to it! There’s plenty of work to do in the future.

There are quiet times in any type of work that you chose. But that doesn’t mean that time has to be wasted. By following the tips detailed in this post, you can make the most of the quiet times and use them to be better when the busy season returns, as is always inevitable. Overall, this ensures that you are remaining productive and keeping your career moving forward in a positive direction and remember that 90%+ of traders lose money and it’s due to lack of preparation…so use the slow times to fix that issue!

What’s your favorite tip for staying productive during slow or down times? You tell me in the comments section below! 

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Author card Timothy Sykes picture

Timothy Sykes

Tim Sykes is a penny stock trader and teacher who became a self-made millionaire by the age of 22 by trading $12,415 of bar mitzvah money. After becoming disenchanted with the hedge fund world, he established the Tim Sykes Trading Challenge to teach aspiring traders how to follow his trading strategies. He’s been featured in a variety of media outlets including CNN, Larry King, Steve Harvey, Forbes, Men’s Journal, and more. He’s also an active philanthropist and environmental activist, a co-founder of Karmagawa, and has donated millions of dollars to charity. Read More

* Results are not typical and will vary from person to person. Making money trading stocks takes time, dedication, and hard work. There are inherent risks involved with investing in the stock market, including the loss of your investment. Past performance in the market is not indicative of future results. Any investment is at your own risk. See Terms of Service here

The available research on day trading suggests that most active traders lose money. Fees and overtrading are major contributors to these losses.

A 2000 study called “Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors” evaluated 66,465 U.S. households that held stocks from 1991 to 1996. The households that traded most averaged an 11.4% annual return during a period where the overall market gained 17.9%. These lower returns were attributed to overconfidence.

A 2014 paper (revised 2019) titled “Learning Fast or Slow?” analyzed the complete transaction history of the Taiwan Stock Exchange between 1992 and 2006. It looked at the ongoing performance of day traders in this sample, and found that 97% of day traders can expect to lose money from trading, and more than 90% of all day trading volume can be traced to investors who predictably lose money. Additionally, it tied the behavior of gamblers and drivers who get more speeding tickets to overtrading, and cited studies showing that legalized gambling has an inverse effect on trading volume.

A 2019 research study (revised 2020) called “Day Trading for a Living?” observed 19,646 Brazilian futures contract traders who started day trading from 2013 to 2015, and recorded two years of their trading activity. The study authors found that 97% of traders with more than 300 days actively trading lost money, and only 1.1% earned more than the Brazilian minimum wage ($16 USD per day). They hypothesized that the greater returns shown in previous studies did not differentiate between frequent day traders and those who traded rarely, and that more frequent trading activity decreases the chance of profitability.

These studies show the wide variance of the available data on day trading profitability. One thing that seems clear from the research is that most day traders lose money .

Millionaire Media 66 W Flagler St. Ste. 900 Miami, FL 33130 United States (888) 878-3621 This is for information purposes only as Millionaire Media LLC nor Timothy Sykes is registered as a securities broker-dealer or an investment adviser. No information herein is intended as securities brokerage, investment, tax, accounting or legal advice, as an offer or solicitation of an offer to sell or buy, or as an endorsement, recommendation or sponsorship of any company, security or fund. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes cannot and does not assess, verify or guarantee the adequacy, accuracy or completeness of any information, the suitability or profitability of any particular investment, or the potential value of any investment or informational source. The reader bears responsibility for his/her own investment research and decisions, should seek the advice of a qualified securities professional before making any investment, and investigate and fully understand any and all risks before investing. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes in no way warrants the solvency, financial condition, or investment advisability of any of the securities mentioned in communications or websites. In addition, Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes accepts no liability whatsoever for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of this information. This information is not intended to be used as the sole basis of any investment decision, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the investment needs of any particular investor. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future returns.

Citations for Disclaimer

Barber, Brad M. and Odean, Terrance, Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors. Available at SSRN: “Day Trading for a Living?”

Barber, Brad M. and Lee, Yi-Tsung and Liu, Yu-Jane and Odean, Terrance and Zhang, Ke, Learning Fast or Slow? (May 28, 2019). Forthcoming: Review of Asset Pricing Studies, Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=2535636”

Chague, Fernando and De-Losso, Rodrigo and Giovannetti, Bruno, Day Trading for a Living? (June 11, 2020). Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=3423101”